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  5. He lānui vs 'O ka lānui


He lānui vs 'O ka lānui

I have question about sentence structure in similar sentences.

"The day of the show is a holiday" is: He lānui ka lā o ka hō'ike

"The 7th day of February is the holiday" is 'O ka lānui ka lā 'ehiku o Pepeluali

These are pretty similar in English, why are they different in Hawaiian? Is it the difference between "A" holiday and "THE" holiday as far as choosing He lānui or 'O ka lānui?

October 11, 2019



Aloha e @MJDunphy, ʻae, this is more or less my understanding on this type of pattern.

ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi requires that in equational sentence patterns, if you are placing something that has a ka/ke/kēia/etc attached to it in the beginning of your equational order, then the " ʻo " must come before it.

In a similar way, a "he + something" cannot be in the second position of the pattern, it has to be placed in the front. Instead of trying to remember grammar, it is easier to really think deeply about what you are conveying.

If you think of the difference between "a holiday" and "the holiday," you are not just making a distinction of specificity or not... youʻre really talking about two different things. "the holiday" is something that is a physically formed entity in time/space. "a holiday" is really a quality or status of something. Ma ka ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, these are two different word categories that are treated differently. Contrast the below with something easier to relate to thatʻs already in English.

  • Wela ka pōhaku. The rock is hot.
  • ʻO ka pōhaku ka (mea) wela. The one that is hot is the rock.

When you realize that "he + lānui" and "wela" function similarly (that they are both conditions/statuses), then it makes more sense when crafting sentences ma ka ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.

Hoping that this helps and wasnʻt just more confusing haha!


It does help. Maybe I'm just bad at grammar, but figuring out the different intentions always seems easier than learning grammar rules ma ka 'Ōlelo Hawai'i. Hah!

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